Switzerland steps up humanitarian aid for victims in Iraq

Bern, Press releases, 15.08.2014

Atrocities committed against civilians – specifically by members of the Islamic State group – are precipitating a serious humanitarian crisis. Switzerland is extremely concerned and is responding by offering material assistance to the victims, condemning the serious violations of international law and calling on Iraq to take appropriate measures. Switzerland is currently scaling up its humanitarian assistance.

The humanitarian disaster in northern Iraq calls for an international response which Switzerland is joining. At the beginning of June, Switzerland increased its financial assistance to its partners on the ground by CHF 3.7 million – the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children Switzerland and the Norwegian Refugee Council – in order to provide food and material aid to internally displaced persons in northern Iraq, especially children and families. Switzerland's financial commitment for 2014 now stands at CHF 8.6 million. In addition, three specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit have been seconded to the United Nations to strengthen the humanitarian response in northern Iraq. Further deployments are currently under review.

The root cause of this crisis is a lack of respect for the most fundamental human values. Even the most vulnerable are not spared: children, women, the elderly, the wounded and sick. Switzerland calls again on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights.

All victims of these violations of fundamental rights must be able to benefit from protection and assistance, and Switzerland expects all parties to the conflict to offer humanitarian actors secure access to all the victims. Furthermore, it is important to create the conditions which will allow the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of all internally displaced persons as soon as possible.

Switzerland applauds the current efforts of the Iraqi authorities, including the authorities of the Iraqi Kurdistan region to provide the best possible shelter for internally displaced persons. It encourages the Iraqi authorities to redouble their efforts to re-establish the rule of law and respect for human rights throughout the country to ensure that all citizens can take their place in society without discrimination. Switzerland calls on all political, religious and social forces in Iraq to work together to support the process launched under the aegis of the Iraqi presidency.

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